Drs. Shuler & Hickman of Hesperos Awarded 2015 Lush Prize



Hesperos Scientists Awarded International Prize for Accurate New Alternative to Animal Testing of Pharmaceuticals

ORLANDO, Fla. — Hesperos Inc., utilizing technology developed by UCF and Cornell University scientists to enable a more accurate way to test pharmaceuticals without using animal subjects, has been awarded a major international prize.

This innovative technology, known as Body-on-a-Chip or Human-on-a-Chip, was recently awarded the 2015 Lush Prize for Science over 11 finalists from Japan, Switzerland, Germany, South Korea, Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.

Lush, the international cosmetics manufacturer with shops in 49 countries, has awarded the Lush Prize since 2012 in five categories. The 2015 Lush Science award includes a share of $380,000 in prize money.

UCF researcher Dr. James J. Hickman, Professor of Chemistry, Biomolecular Science and Electrical Engineering at the UCF NanoScience Technology Center, partnered with Dr. Michael Shuler at Cornell University to develop functional Body-on-a-Chip systems that are free of animal cells and animal sera.

Hickman and Shuler are utilizing Hesperos, a startup biotech research and development company, to commercialize the technology. Dr. Shuler is President and CEO and Dr. Hickman is Chief Scientist at Hesperos.

Body-on-a-Chip systems work with tissues derived from human cell sources to simulate human metabolism and function, including toxic side effects as well as efficacy from pharmaceutical drug candidates.

“Body-on-a-Chip systems can play a significant role in determining the efficacy and toxicity of new pharmaceuticals without the use of animals,” Dr. Shuler explained.

Dr. Hickman and Shuler’s team is researching ways to improve pharmaceutical testing. Aside from the ethical considerations of using live animal subjects to test potentially life-saving drugs, animal testing is woefully inaccurate.

“For every 50 drugs that are determined to be safe for animals, only one proves safe in humans,” Dr. Hickman said.

Hesperos’s goal is to further develop this technology to replace animal testing in the pre-clinical development of drugs and in the chemical and cosmetics industry as well as provide the ultimate systems for precision medicine applications.

Hesperos, Inc. is a client company of the UCF Business Incubation Program at Central Florida Research Park in east Orange County.  Hesperos is a service-based company that also offers custom designed systems for clients.  Visit www.Hesperosinc.com .

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For more information about this press release, contact

Dr. Michael Shuler, President and CEO, Hesperos, Inc. 607-255-0629 mshuler@hesperosinc.com

Dr. James Hickman, Chief Scientist, Hesperos, Inc. 407-823-1925 JHickman@ucf.edu

Carol Ann Dykes, Site Manager, UCF Business Incubation Program 407-207-7426  carolann.dykes@ucf.edu

Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications Inc. 407-644-4142 Lvershelco@aol.com